One extremely fascinating fact about me is that I have a brother.
It’s actually not that fascinating because many people in the world have brothers, but he’s kind of like an enigma. I never know when he will pop into my life. And, it’s always exciting when he does.
Like, recently he sent me a random card with zebras laughing on it, and a $50 Olive Garden gift card. That my friends, is true sibling love. My little family ate the you know what out of some breadsticks and fettucine and even ordered dessert which I think really confused my children. In a nutshell, it was fun.
So, one day, I get a random text from my brother, all casual like we talk and text everyday, announcing that he was coming to my neck of the woods (I have 3 trees in my yard, so it’s the woods, OK?). After I got over the initial confusion of mistaking his identity for another family relative named Chris, I was excited to hear it was actually my brother texting me.
I immediately offered to let him crash at my place for the 11 hours he was going to allow me to see him (love you bro). After he debated for several days, he finally conceded to staying with me. He was road tripping with his a friend for a football game. I immediately forgot all details about the football game and panicked about him staying with me.
It has never happened before, so it was a justified moment of panic.
As I was pondering the fact that he never comes to my house, I decided that a full clean was in order. I was killing myself making sure that the house was spotless for him and his friend to come stay. Half way through scrubbing my bathroom, I realized I had made a huge mistake.
I had two grown men coming to stay with me, and they sure didn’t give a crap about how clean my bathrooms were. So, I pulled out the clorox wipes and called it good.
This got me thinking. It would be really helpful to have a guide or scale measuring how much cleaning is required for whatever type of house guest you might be entertaining. Although, not much actual entertaining happens at my house. It’s more like survival of the fittest around here.
So, I created one for you. You’re welcome.
photo credit: splityarn via photo pin cc (text added)
Next time you have house guests, use my hand dandy guide to know how clean it really has to be.
The Less than 24 Hour Notice Guest– If someone is not nice enough to give you notice that they are coming in less than 24 hours, immediately lower your standards. They are not considerate enough to give you notice, so they don’t deserve the cleanest place to sleep either. Sure, pull out a set of clean sheets, but it’s OK to give them the ones that are a little scratchy in the middle. Drop hints like, “Oh if you had let me know you were coming, I would have had my 3,000 thread count sheets clean for you.” This may help with avoiding future sudden drop ins.
The Brother Visit– Brothers don’t care. They want a pillow, and a blanket, and they are fine with that. If your brother is married with kids, then he will just be glad a kid is not stepping on his face at 6:30 am as usual. For fun though, you could still encourage your kids to go wake their Uncle in the morning. It’s payback for the time he put your childhood pet in the microwave and turned it on for 3 seconds. Clorox wipes in the bathroom and a few squirts of febreeze are about all that’s required.
The Sister Visit– Now, in general, I would say that no cleaning is required whatsoever if you are close with your sister. However, we know that sisters do secretly judge your cleanliness, so you will probably want to go close to all out anyway. You’ll give the bathroom a proper clean, and make sure the microwave is splatter-less, but you won’t worry about the smudges on the windows. In the end, you know she’ll help you clean your stove if necessary, and she will come back. No matter what. While she’s there, you’ll secretly wish you were allowed a sister wife.
The Childhood Friend (You haven’t seen in years) Visit- Even though you know she won’t judge you because she’s seen you at your worst (like crying at that NKOTB concert), you’ll still clean anyway. You won’t reach perfection although you will definitely try, but you will immediately confess that upon her arrival by blurting out something like, “I ran out of time to mop the floors!” Luckily, she’ll hug you and let you know that she does not care whatsoever, and you’ll know she’s telling you the truth.
The Motherload Clean– You can probably guess that this level of cleaning is required when your mother, or mother-in-law is coming to stay with you. This level of cleaning is the highest. You must wipe smudges off of windows, clean baseboards, and vacuum up those cobwebs in the corners that frankly you had never even noticed before. Most likely, you will fall over from exhaustion before you get to actually achieve the level of cleaning you’d like. This is, after all, totally out of the norm for you to check every surface for fingerprints. Since it’s impossible to actually finish everything you suddenly see through new eyes (hers) you will pray the entire time she’s there that she never has to lift up a couch cushion or look under a bed for anything.
There are definitely more guests to consider like the random visit from a friend of a friend, or the cousin that is in town for a few days, but for the most part, the best advice I can give is as soon as they utter the words, “I’m going to be in town in two weeks” beat them to it, and blurt out, “Oh I know the BEST hotel just a mile from my house”. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
What kind of house guest makes you clean like a 1950’s housewife? Is it your mom, or a judgey cousin? I want to know!
Brittany at Equipping Godly Women says
My husband’s friends always drop by with no notice (or rather, he texts them “come on over!” and no one tells me…) I’m just happy if I’m fully dressed. Forget cleaning! The house is usually trashed when they go down to the basement and miraculously clean by the time they come back up, lol!
Geez. I guess they’re worth keeping around if they clean for you?? Amazing.
I’m pretty sure she meant she cleans like crazy while they are in the basement being boys!
I used to go all out for mother-in-law visits until I realised that this just meant she had to find something else to criticise me for. Now she takes us as she finds us, which is generally in a dusty mess. Big cleans I save for friends coming to stay (rare) because I care what they think.
Well, mother in laws are great like that, aren’t they? (rolling my eyes)
Ana Lynn says
In my case it would definitely be my mother. My mother in law would get the clean you recommend for a friend you haven’t seen in ages and she’d be okay with it!
You’re lucky then!!
Shelley Fosse says
I love to entertain and I used to clean like crazy before guest came over. I would make my kids and husband lists of tasks to finish and in general bark at them to move faster. Everyone loved it and felt happy and relaxed when our guests arrived? Now I have a new policy, everything gets picked up but instead of cleaning I make sure to entertain after dark, keep the lights low and use lots of candles. Everything looks lovely!
Haha! LOVE it Shelley. Great tip!
Right now ANY visitor sets me into “I Love Lucy” cleaning mode…
Did I mention we’re selling our house, so these visitors are totally judging my house? Okay, maybe not my cleaning skills, but STILL. Dirty houses don’t sell as well as clean ones, right?
I would think not. Geez. The thought of having to keep my house clean enough to sell would give me panic attacks! 🙂
Liz @ The Lambent Life says
SO true! Now that are home is obnoxiously large (seriously, I hate it), I have to prioritize what gets cleaned before a visit. Heaven help the guest who drops in unannounced. They’ll be welcomed with a black-ringed toilet and sand in the carpet.
Glad I’m not the only one Liz! My house now is considerably smaller than the last house we owned, and while I complain sometimes about the space, I remind myself how awesome it is to clean less rooms! 🙂
BTW, SO good to hear from you!! 🙂
This was awesome! I agree, men really don’t notice how clean their own house is, leave alone where they are crashing for a short time. I, on the other hand, am slightly OCD about cleaning up whenever someone’s coming to dinner.
I, of course, love the sister cleaning the best. Totes accurate.
This is a great guide and one to live by! Just in time as well since I have houseguests coming to stay tomorrow (eek!) and still have a lot of cleaning to do (double eek!). So what level of cleaning would you suggest for a newlywed ‘family friend’ of your in-laws who just happens to be a prettier, younger female with a great career. Also, she so happens to be someone everyone thought would marry the guy who became your husband before you came along? Now that I come to think of it, break out the Clorox wipes, I’m coming over to hide out at your place till this particular houseguest leaves 🙁
Yikes. That definitely sounds like hotel material. Especially if she had a good career!
Your blog posts make me so happy. I wish all blogs were like yours. I feel the same way when my parents come over, but they would never stay over! They’re much too fancy to slum it on my fold out couch!
How goes the blogging slowdown?
Thanks Brittany! You’re so sweet. It’s going ok. I’m feeling a little frustrated because my list if blog ideas is always expanding, but my writing time seems to be shrinking.
I definitely need the The Motherload Clean! my in laws are arriving next week as well as my sister in law from Honk Kong. Yikes! Wanna help a girl out? 🙂
If only we lived closer!! I’m leaving on a trip tomorrow and have a compulsive need to clean my whole house for that too!!
Denise G. says
Yeah…my parents just came for a visit so you know how clean I got my house! Problem was that I forgot to sweep the front porch. Apparently, I have lots of spider webs in corners there. Oops!
Don’t tell me they pointed it out??
Preston Davis says
“The Motherload Clean” LOL too true!